3F UL Gear Backpack Review

3F UL Backpack Review

Today we’re bringing you a review of this 3F UL backpack. Over the last few years this pack has been cropping up more and more in the ‘underrated gem’ category of camping gear! So we thought it was about time to give you our take. But first, let’s take a look at the specs:

Overview & Specs

Backpacks weigh a lot more than you might think. It’s surprising how many people spend hours slaving away trying to shave a few grams off their gear list, but don’t spend any time focusing on the pack they’re hauling it all in. What initially attracted us to the 3F UL Gear backpack (apart from our great experience with their ‘Solo’ tent) was a decent pack weight at a super competitive price.

Price and delivery

I bought the pack for £40 /$50, including shipping costs. Delivery took just over two weeks, fairly standard for goods shipped from China.

Capacity and Materials

This pack has a capacity of 40 + 16 Litres. The + 16 seems to refer to what you can fit in the webbing straps on the outside of the pack. This, along with the ability to stick your sleeping mat in where back meets pack, means you get a lot of storage bang for your buck here. 

The backpack is made from 210D Nylon, and is waterproof. However, we always take backpack waterproofing with a pinch of salt. In our experience, waterproof can often just mean ‘water resistant’. It’s always best to store your gear in dry bags inside your backpack in any case, to make sure you’re covered. 

3F UL Gear Backpack Review
The 3F UL Gear Backpack, empty

Weight

Here’s the part we love – this pack weighs only 900 grams (1 pound 16 ounces)! We’ve seen big name western brand frameless backpacks that are 5 times this price but still weigh in at over a kilo. Not only that, but there is plenty of potential to mod this pack and save a bit more weight, as it comes with a tonne of straps and doohickeys that aren’t all necessary in our view. As long as the build quality held up we were convinced that this pack was an absolute steal.

3F UL Backpack Review

So, here’s how the 3F UL backpack has fared up on the 4 or 5 walks we’ve used it on so far:

Comfort, load and build quality

The biggest worry with a frameless backpack tends to be that the load will be uneven, and make it uncomfortable to carry. However, in our experience, this tends to be a non-issue as long as you’ve packed the bag well. And so it was with the 3F UL Gear – it was perfectly comfortable as long as the bag wasn’t totally lopsided. 

But here’s the thing: we noticed a serious comfort level change when we partially inflated this Naturehike sleeping pad and stuck it in the back of the pack (photo below) for a walk. Wow. The pack went from being ‘this is fine’ to carry, to being downright comfy.  Since sticking the pad in the back to act as a frame, we’ve never gone back. 

In terms of the build quality, it was everything we’ve come to expect from 3F UL Gear. Not a stitching fault to be seen, and it looks very rugged and durable based on our outings so far.

3F UL Gear Backpack Review
It’s crazy how comfortable this thing is with a sleeping mat as the frame!

Fiddlage

Ya know what really bothers me about backpacks? Fiddlage. Fiddlage is defined (by me) as how much you have to fiddle with various straps, pouches and doohickeys to get your pack open, closed or packed up. And in fairness, the 3F UL could use a minor bit of improvement here.

Although I’ve seen far worse offenders, it feels like there are definitely a few straps that could be lost without compromising functionality (DIY pack modders rejoice!). At times this pack can feel a bit over-engineered in general. But having said that, it’s easy enough to pack and unpack snugly, so it’s a small grumble – especially for the price.

The Water Test

So, remember what we said when it comes to waterproofing on a backpack? Take a pinch of salt, and put everything you hold dear in dry bags. But the thing is, when we ran this bag under a tap, the results pretty much blew us away. It didn’t matter how much water we poured on this thing, it all just slipped right off it. Try as we might, we just couldn’t seem to get the inside of the pack wet at all. 3F UL have certainly over-delivered there! 

3F UL Gear Backpack Review
The 3F UL Gear Backpack, from the back

Verdict

So… what’s the conclusion after our first few uses of this 3F UL Gear Backpack? We love it! It ticks pretty much every box in terms of price, build quality, waterproofing and comfort. Our only minor gripe is the crazy number of straps, but it doesn’t really interfere with the function of the pack. And plenty of people will just see that as an excuse to go modding

Even for those who don’t like frameless packs, we’d urge you to give this backpack a try, using a sleeping mat as the frame. We’ve certainly never looked back since we bought it!

Well, that’s all folks! Hope you enjoyed this 3F UL Gear Backpack Review.

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*Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used in this review.

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